If Christ came to turn our world right side up, why are so many people -- Christians included -- living such upside down lives? If Jesus came to plant the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, and peace – why is it so common for Christians to be burdened by earth-bound feelings of anger, depression and anxiety? One reason: it is rare to find a Christian who has fallen head over heals for God. What shall we do this side of the cross to be lost? The answer is "nothing!"
Are we just admirers of Christ, or are we followers? Do we just go to the Cross or do we climb up there with Him? Do you have an intimate relationship with God?
Another reason would be our view and others' perspectives on religion. I have seen here on Xanga the words religion and righteousness thrown around rather loosely, not so much by my beloved, but non-believers. So let me here attempt to explain my understanding of the two. During Jesus' time here on earth, the religious people seemed to get on His nerves. Why? The teaching of the Pharisees had a high concept of God. He was powerfully active in human history, particularly in the history of Israel. But they exalted the concept and pushed it so far that He (God) had become transcendental; they were hung up on legalism. It was because the law was the expression of the eternal will of God that it became, for the Pharisee, the norm in all matters of behavior. And any action which contravened the law, as Pharisees understood it, was an act of impiety and must be condemned. (Sound familiar?) (note) Of the 3 groups active at the time of Christ, it was the Pharisee that was closer related to the teachings of Christ. At no time did he ever condemn their sincere desire to fulfill the law; He made it very clear that He (Christ) had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. They all shared certain aspects, but the Sadducee had a tendency to drift toward materialism, and the Essenes were even more stringent than the Pharisees, but withdrew from all, they were separatists. In short they had put an unnecessary burden on the people.Religion
The word religion comes from the Latin word Ligare, which refers to something binding an individual, as a ligament binds muscle to bone -- more of a focus of control than enjoyment.
Religion is whatever you and I do in order to get God to love us more than we think He wants to on His own.Righteousness
is understood in the OT as a very different term.
Righteousness connotes a relationship characterized by mutual delight in one another, by loyalty, esteem and a lasting commitment.
With righteousness, we get to focus more on relationships and joy, more on compassion than control.
Far from being synonyms, religion and righteousness are closer to being opposites.Is this the reason why Christianity is viewed as being too harsh, condemning, placing an unnecessary burden or demands on people's lives? Because of a wrong perspective?Would people be more willing to accept it if they knew that Christ's yoke was light and easy, not a burden?